Planning and Zoning Education

The S.C. Planning Education Advisory Committee has announced new guidance on orientation and continuing education requirements. 

General Information About Planning and Zoning Education


Planning and Zoning Training Videos/Handouts

Recorded planning and zoning training requirements are governed by the South Carolina Planning Education Advisory Committee (SCPEAC). There are two methods for viewing recorded training that will meet the requirements set forth by SCPEAC:

DVD - Planning and zoning webcast videos are available from SCAC's lending library. To request a DVD loan of a recorded session, please contact Ryan Tooley or call 1-800-922-6081, ext. 335.

Learning Portal – Recorded planning and zoning training is available through the SCAC Learning Portal. SCPEAC has approved this method since the Learning Portal tracks participant completion. To access the Learning Portal, Planning and Zoning officials will first need an account with us if they do not have one yet. This is to ensure they are a local government official and can earn a certificate. To create an account or retrieve a password, use the following link:

Once an account has been created, proceed to the Learning Portal to log in using the credentials. The planning and zoning courses vary by length, so please read the course descriptions. Upon completion of a course, a certificate will be emailed to the participant which must be filed with the appropriate department for retention.

Institute of Government for County Officials – SCAC provides the Institute of Government for County Officials to equip county officials with the tools needed to enhance their skills and abilities to function more effectively in their positions. Four Institute of Government courses are approved by the S.C. Education Planning Advisory Committee for continuing education credit for local government planning/zoning officials and employees. These courses include:

  • Level I — Planning and Land Use; Ethical Leadership and Public Service; and Managing and Conducting Meetings
  • Level II — Economic Development

Learn more about the Institute of Government for County Officials.


Frequently Asked Questions


The South Carolina Planning Education Advisory Committee (SCPEAC) is charged with approving education programs and determining categories of persons who are eligible for exemption from the educational requirements.

Who is required to receive educational training?

  • Appointed officials who serve on a planning commission, board of zoning appeals, or board of architectural review
  • Professional employees who are employed as a planning professional, zoning administrator, zoning official, or as a deputy or assistant to these positions

What training is required?

  • Officials and employees must attend a minimum of six hours of orientation
  • Thereafter, there is an annual requirement to attend at least three hours of continuing education.
  • New officials and/or employees must attend orientation training within 180 days prior to and no later than 365 days after initial appointment or employment.

Are there limits or restrictions on the types of training or methods of delivery for the orientation or continuing education offerings?

Yes, SCPEAC guidelines restrict the type of training and method of delivery. SCAC’s course offerings comply with SCPEAC guidelines.

  • Orientation Training – SCAC is currently developing an online orientation course for SCPEAC approval. Once approved, this course will be available at no cost to county board/commission members and county staff. After completing the course, individuals will receive a certificate of completion.
  • Continuing Education – SCAC offers live continuing education webinars annually at no cost. Additionally, online recorded training can be viewed so long as it meets the requirement that participation or attendance can be confirmed. This is accomplished through SCAC’s Learning Portal which tracks progress and completion. Certificates of completion are emailed upon completion.

Who is exempt from the educational requirements?

An appointed official or professional employee who has one or more of the following qualifications is exempt:

  • Certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners
  • Holds a master’s or doctorate degree in planning from an accredited college or university
  • Holds a master’s or doctorate degree or specialized training or experience in a field related to planning as determined by the advisory committee
  • Licensed to practice law in South Carolina
  • A certification form and documentation of exemption must be filed with the clerk to council by the first anniversary date of appointment or employment. This documentation only needs to be filed once and must be retained while the official/employee is performing relevant duties.

What are the requirements of the local governing body?

  • To identify their appointed officials and professional employees who are required to receive training no later than Dec. 31 of each year and provide a list to the clerk to council and to each planning or zoning entity in the jurisdiction
  • To annually inform each planning or zoning entity of the educational requirements
  • To sponsor and provide approved education programs or to fund approved education programs provided by another sponsor

What is the clerk to council’s responsibilities?

The clerk must keep in the official public records originals of:

  • All filed forms and documentation that certify compliance with educational requirements for three years after the calendar year in which each form is filed
  • All filed forms and documentation that certify an exemption for the tenure of the appointed official or professional employee
  • SCAC does not maintain records on behalf of the local governing body.

What are the consequences for failure to comply?

An appointed official is subject to removal from office and a professional employee is subject to suspension or dismissal from employment if he/she:

  • Fails to complete the requisite number of hours of orientation training and continuing education within the allotted time or
  • Fails to file the required certification form and documentation with the clerk.

Failure to comply may also call into question any decision or recommendations made by officials or employees and open the county up to liability.

A local governing body is prohibited from appointing or employing a person who has falsified the certification form or documentation.